Migrating to Unreal Engine 5: Lighting woes

Aug 22, 2022 at 10:13 am by nemirc

Migrating to Unreal Engine 5: Lighting woes
Migrating to Unreal Engine 5: Lighting woes

As I continue working on UE5, I run into a few more issues that are important to know. Fortunately, none of these issues are “game-breaking”, but rather things that make me rethink certain aspects of how I develop the game.

While I was setting up the lights, I first focused on making the “realistic” lighting, adding only the lights that actually come from real light sources (lightbulbs, lamps, the moon, etc.), and then I began to focus on “gameplay lights” that would help you see better or guide you in the game. For these second type of lights, I wanted to use baked lights, so I set the lights as “Static”, however, I noticed the lights never showed up after baking, no matter how much I increased the intensity.

The problem is, if you set your GI to Lumen, UE5 will pretty much ignore any baked light and use only real-time GI. If you set your GI to “none” (to emulate UE4), the baked lights will show up and, if you make changes to the lights, they will bake like normal. However, the moment you switch back to Lumen, all the baked lights will just go away.

I found a work-around, though. If you set the lights to “Stationary”, you get a “mixed light” which uses real-time and baked lighting at the same time. This makes UE5 keep the baked lightmaps.

By default, all lights shine on the character, and, in some situations that’s not an issue. However, in this case, it was an issue because they gave the impression there was an invisible light-source that was shining on her. That was an undesired effect, since all I wanted is to draw the attention to that table at the end, not to shine a light on the character.

This was easy to fix, and I think I’ve shown this in previous articles. Unreal lights have “channels” that you can use. All you need to do is set objects to different channels, and, in this case, set the light to a different channel not used by the character.

While you may think baking lights is not needed since Lumen is taking care of all the lighting in real-time, I found baking lights is still useful in some cases. For example, in this dark hallway, I baked a bounce light to make the area look a little better.

And that’s it for this time. I hope you found this useful.

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